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As the nights begin to draw in early, it’s the perfect excuse to cosy up with a good book. I know I say this about every season but I love a good Autumn read. October is the perfect time to read a thrilling ghost story, vampire chronicle, witch’s tale or gothic novel. Here are suggestions of four books you could read this October:
1. The Familiars by Stacey Hall
In a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman is the greatest risk of all…
Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir.
When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn’t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy. Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby and to prove the physician wrong.
As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the northwest, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Soon the two women’s lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
If you enjoy the Familiars you will love The Foundling by Stacey Halls.
2. The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardo is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, forty fishermen, including her father and brother, are lost to the waves, the menfolk of Vardo wiped out in an instant.
Now the women must fend for themselves.
Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardo to heel.
With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In Vardo, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty and terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs.
Inspired by the real events of the Vardo storm and the 1621 witch trials, Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community and a love that may prove as dangerous as it is powerful.
3. The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve
When the body of a young woman is wheeled into the hospital where Leo Stanhope works, his life is thrown into chaos. Maria, the woman he loves, has been murdered and it is not long before the finger of suspicion is turned on him, threatening to expose his lifelong secret. For Leo Stanhope was born Charlotte, the daughter of a respectable reverend, but knowing he was meant to be a man – despite the evidence of his body – he fled his family home at just fifteen and has been living as Leo ever since. Desperate to find Maria’s killer, he now stands to lose not just his freedom, but ultimately his life.
4. Seaglass by Eloise Williams
Seaglass is a Middle-Grade novel for anyone from 10 to 90, as long as you can remember what it’s like to be 13, anxious and angry.
Lark needs a break. Her mother is ill, her sister has stopped speaking and she’s fallen out with her best friend. When her family arrives at a caravan site on the windy Welsh coast, she and her little sister rush off to explore. But soon this freedom gets frightening. Is there a figure in the fog? What happened at the ruined house in the woods? Why is her sister so fascinated by a girl in a green dress that no one else can see? As the storms get wilder and events get stranger, Lark must face a long-buried secret to try to save her family.
Have you read any of these books? Which of these books would you most like to read? Let me know in the comments.